Tuesday, August 11, 2015

YOU NEED MORE SLEEP: Advice from Cats by Francesco Marciuliano

From the creator of I Could Pee on This and I Could Chew On This comes a book full of sound advice for a good life. Or a cat's life, anyhow, and don't cats seem to have good lives?

You Need More Sleep, unlike the aforementioned books, is in prose rather than poetry. It consists of an Introduction followed by chapters: "Personal Relationships" (avoid them), "Social Interaction" (avoid it), "Career Advancement" (eliminate rivals), and "You, You, YOU!" (just what you'd expect). The book actually starts sweetly with a dedication to the author's "childhood's cat Bettina, who taught me everything I know except how to lie on top of a refrigerator without falling off." The introduction urges us to "Listen to the Cats", based on their "lives of utter confidence, complete independence, and blissful indifference while people continue to drive themselves to the brink of insanity with self-doubt, neediness, and the horrifying sensation that whatever they just texted, tweeted, or emailed will be the very end of their job, relationship, or reputation."

The first piece of advice in the "Personal Relationships" section is "Always Stay At Least 30 Feet from a Loved One", which extols the virtues of personal space.

A healthy relationship is as much about being together as it is as about personal space. And the best way to accomplish the latter is by never, ever sitting still. If your partner enters the room, get up and leave. If they follow you, make for the stars. If they pursue, do a hard turn into the bedroom, bank off the dresser, double-back into the hall, careen into the home office, swipe the workstation clean, fall into a wastebasket, and go back down the stairs. Keep running until they go to work and you get the eight hours of peace alone you both need for love to bloom.

The "Social Interaction" chapter features such noteworthy headlines as "Don't Be Nice to Unpleasant People", "It's Okay to Be Shy", and "Stay Quiet Just Long Enough to Be Taken Seriously" (possibly all sound advice, actually), interspersed with such things as "Steady Eye Contact is All the Listening You'll Ever Have to Do" and "Befriend People Who Are Good at Things You're Not. Like Opening Cans."

"Career Advancement" is "for when you want what's yours, what's theirs, and whatever everyone is having for lunch." It comically urges readers to "Network by Stepping on People's Crotches" and "Don't Eliminate Rivalry. Eliminate Rivals." Come to think of it, those might be useful bits of advice, if only they could be pulled off. "Clear the Desk Every Morning" makes good business sense, but perhaps not as described:

Inbox. Outbox. To-do list. Pens. Coffee. Phone. Computer. Whatever is made of glass. Start each office day with a clean slate by wiping the workspace clean of any distraction that can be shoved or tilted off the ledge.

This will alert your coworkers that you mean business and that maybe if they paid a little more attention to you then you wouldn't be smacking all that stuff off their desks in the first place.

"You, You, YOU!" commences with the advice found in the book's title, which is true of nearly everyone I know: "You Need More Sleep". As it says, "You work hard and you play hard so you deserve more sleep." Other bits of advice vary in validity, from "Make Time to Enjoy Yourself. Thoroughly." to "Just Because Others Can't See It Doesn't Mean You Shouldn't Chase It."

The perfect advice for back-to-school or off-to-work, and it will be available on September 1st in stores near you.

You can catch a quick preview of the book at the Chronicle Books website.

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